The fallout continues at State College, Pennsylvania. Given the uproar since the Jerry Sandusky verdict and the recent findings in the Freeh Report, the Penn State student organization that oversees the tent village set up outside Gate A at Beaver Stadium before every home game has decided to make a tough decision. Paternoville is officially no more. Nittanyville will now be the new name of the tent village set up outside Gate A at Beaver Stadium.
Troy Weller is the President of Nittanyville. His staff along with an advisor had come to a tough decision, but stand by their vote.
Troy Weller joined WIP in Philadelphia with Michael Barkann and Ike Reese to discuss changing the name of the student group to Nittanyville from Paternoville, the difficulty in making the name switch from Paternoville to Nittanyville, the potential impact of the death penalty on Penn State football and being proud to wear his Penn State apparel.
Were you the one who wanted to change the name to Nittanyville now given what happened at Penn State with the Jerry Sandusky verdict?
“Yeah we started discussing a few weeks ago. Just kind of brainstorming what we would have to do if we felt like we needed to make a change. Myself and the other nine officers incoordination with our advisor just kind of talked about it and the past couple of weeks we kind have formulated the idea of how we wanted to handle this. We felt like we needed to make a switch and yesterday we voted and then we released our new name last night.”
How difficult has this decision been on the Penn State student body?
“In terms of the name change? We’ve got a fairly mixed reaction. We’ve gotten a lot of support from a lot of people that have camped out. We’ve also gotten a lot of negativity from other students at the university, but I’ve talked to a lot of kids that I am familiar with that have camped out and they understand this was a tough decision and they support us. I know myself and vice president are obviously getting a lot of negatively charged e-mails and that was understood. That one of the things we realized coming into this was that it wasn’t going to be a popular decision. We were going to have to face this negativity from people, but at the same time we haven seen a lot of support from our campers and they understand how this process went about and they understand our decision wasn’t an easy one to make.”
What kind of impact would the death penalty have on Penn State students if that were to happen?
“Football saturdays are a big part of who we are as Penn State students and I think the NCAA is going to handle the situation as best as they see fit. We are going to have to respect their decision, but at the same time if they decide that football would have to take a year off it’s going to obviously impact not only funding for other sports, but the economy of State College as a whole. It would be tough to see kids who weren’t around when this happened get their football season taken away from them. These are kids who are 10-11 years old when all this happened. Just to see them and be affected by it would be tough it, but the NCAA is going to decide how they want handle this and we’re going to have to respect their decision and move from there.”
What are your thoughts on Penn State students wearing their apparel out in public? Do students still have pride in wearing Penn State gear?
“I think that question was answered very easily. We went down to Ohio State, the Ohio State game in Columbus [Ohio] and I know my parents were worried about my safety and all the kids I was with and I just told them we would be fine. The whole entire time we were down in Columbus I heard one Sandusky-Penn State joke. One joke. This was last season at Ohio State and the tailgating group next to us? They were next to us and they understood we weren’t a part of everything. We didn’t deserve to be grouped and that we were Penn State and we shouldn’t have been labeled as negatively as people have labeled us. That experience at Ohio State with only hearing one joke kind have reaffirmed that I am not ashamed, I never was going to be ashamed to wear my Penn State clothes out in public, but just being there and seeing how their fans handled us. You can say whatever you want, but from personal experience I meet some really classy people down there and am very fortunate for the way they treated us.”